The United States government has signed several COVID-19 relief bills into law, particularly the Coronavirus Aid Relief Economic Security (CARES) Act, a 1.76 trillion dollar stimulus plan. The CARES act included various forms of individual and business relief, including direct-payments for citizens. In a move that many called insufficient, the CARES act provided a one-time payment of $1200 to every adult (with an income ceiling) and $500 to every child. And now house democrats have proposed a second stimulus bill meant to further aid individuals and businesses as COVID-19 pandemic continues.
This new potential stimulus bill being called “The Heroes Act” dwarfs its predecessor in both size and scope, and at an estimated, 3.3 trillion price tag, would be the most expensive relief package in history.
While it’s unknown if this bill will pass at all let alone in its current form, we thought our readers should know it’s contents, so here’s what it contains:
- Almost one trillion in funds to be sent to local and state governments enabling them to pay vital workers like first responders, health workers, and teachers all of whom may be at risk of losing their jobs due to lack of funding.
- A $200 billion ‘Heros Fund’ that would go towards ensuring that all essential workers who have kept working even though this pandemic receive hazard pay
- $75 million for coronavirus testing, contact tracing, and isolation measures. This would ensure that every American would have access to free testing regardless of insurance status and also support hospitals and providers.
A secondround of direct payments, this time, is providing 1200 per family member, with a limit of $6,000 per household.
- A tenant that would enhance the new payroll tax credit included in the previous bill, which would work to encourage companies to keep current employees and allow 60 million Americans to stay connected to their paychecks and benefits.
- A requirement for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a “strong, enforceable, standard” within seven days that would require all workplaces to develop and implement infection control plans based on CDC expertise. This would also protect whistleblower employees who report inadequacies in the enforcement of these plans.
- $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which would strengthen the Payroll Protection Program and ensure that funding reaches underserved communities.
- Funding for COBRA subsidies that will allow Americans to continue on their employer-provided health insurance plans.
- An opening of a special enrollment period for ACA so that Americans who need health insurance can purchase in the marketplace
- An extension of the current $600 weekly government unemployment payments through January to cover a growing number of unemployed Americans
- $175 billion in rental assistance supports that would go to help struggling individuals and families to pay their rent, mortgage utility payments or any other housing-related costs
- A 15% increase to the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and additional funding for other nutrition programs that go directly to helping people feed their families.
- Additional resources to be allocated to go to ensuring ‘safe elections,’ funding for the census and the United States Postal Service
This bill, which is currently being proposed in the house is, of course, subject to change, and we will be keeping a close eye on it for any proposed changes. The following weeks will show whether the bill is viable or not.
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